Dead-as-a-doorknob meaning

(simile) Entirely, unquestionably or certainly dead.

I tried the flashlight, but the battery was as dead as a doorknob.

I found the mouse who lived in our wall, lying on his back with his feet in the air—as dead as a doorknob.

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Origin of dead-as-a-doorknob

Possibly from a misinterpretation or misunderstanding of the expression dead as a doornail. .